West U. City Staff ‘Embarrassed’ Over Vendor’s Mistake
Many West U. residents were a bit confused when they received an insert in their August water bill from the City of West U. giving them notice of a public hearing that had already taken place.
The public hearing concerned possible ordinance changes that will affect property owners on Mercer Street, and was held Aug. 22.
According to city staff, the error was on the part of the vendor, not West U. employees, and despite the embarrassing error, the city fulfilled all legal posting requirements for the hearing.
In July, city staff contacted CSG International to get a quote on inserting the notices in the July billing cycle. A representative responded with a quote, and the city completed the order and sent a copy of the notice to be mailed out.
When residents received their July water bills, there were no inserts. The city contacted CSG International, and a company representative told city staff that changes to their computer system caused the mistake.
“Staff immediately contacted our city attorney who confirmed that we were legally compliant and that we should move forward, which is what the city did under advice of counsel,” said Chris Peifer, assistant city manager and director of public works. “We all have been surprised and embarrassed when we were informed that the insert and now appeared included in the August water billing; noticeably after the fact of the Aug. 22 public hearing. “
Staff once again contacted the vendor, and informed them that the city will not be paying for the mistake.
“In summary, this occurrence albeit embarrassing, was outside of the control of the staff and the city; however, steps are being taken to eliminate the possibility of any reoccurrence,” said Peifer. “Further, the subject actions taken by City Council and the Zoning & Planning Commission were all completed compliant with the law.”